Clubroot has been detected in more canola fields in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Agriculture and SaskCanola said 24 new fields with visible clubroot symptoms were confirmed in the province in 2020. This brings the number of confirmed canola fields to 75 since 2017.
Another 18 fields — for a total of 29 — were identified during the year as having the clubroot pathogen but not exhibiting any visible symptoms.
Read more: Clubroot prevalence jumps in Saskatchewan
“Tracking, early detection and management of clubroot will allow producers to prevent substantial yield loss,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said Monday in a statement.
“Education and awareness of clubroot continue to be a priority to help growers and industry members prevent the further spread of the disease within Saskatchewan.”
Clubroot is a declared pest in Saskatchewan and was first detected in the province in 2008.
The disease can restrict the plant’s ability to obtain water and nutrients, causing up to 50 per cent crop loss.
Crop district 403, north of Saskatoon, and districts 496 and 561, southeast and west of Meadow Lake respectively, all reported 10 or more fields with clubroot symptoms.
“Surveying the province for the disease is important to ensure that we are making our decisions about management on evidence and data,” said Wayne Truman, chair of SaskCanola’s board of directors.
“We continue to encourage farmers to test their soil for clubroot so that it can be caught early and reduce the potential impact on yield.”
That was challenging in 2020 due to the pandemic, however SaskCanola said 231 soil samples were submitted for testing through mail-in testing bags, with the organization paying for testing costs.
Overall, 966 fields were examined through the 2020 clubroot monitoring program.
Landowners of contaminated fields have been contacted and the information shared with rural municipalities that have clubroot-specific bylaws.
The information is not shared publicly to protect the privacy of producers, officials said.
Pest control officers will monitor clubroot-infested fields in future years.
Agriculture officials said a proactive and science-based clubroot management strategy should be used to keep pathogen levels as low as possible.
That includes using clubroot-resistant canola varieties in a minimum of a three-year rotation, which will minimize yield losses while also protecting the effectiveness of clubroot-resistant canola varieties.